Heavy Equipment Companies Are Going Green
Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) and sustainability initiatives are no longer buzzwords with little-to-no substance. Once tucked behind their line item on the boardroom agenda or at the bottom of financial reports, these initiatives are now requirements backed by billions of dollars in investments in today’s engineering and manufacturing world. A company’s carbon emissions are now a top priority in the environmental category from operations through to the products they place on the market—and this certainly applies to companies currently operating gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles. Transitioning to an electric engine is a clear choice and a game changer.
Beyond broader carbon footprint goals, however, electric vehicles offer less noise pollution, less workforce exposure to the harmful effects of exhaust, and better performance and capabilities in terms of torque and acceleration. Electric motors require markedly less maintenance and improved production while keeping the same—or providing even lower—costs. For these reasons, internal combustion engines are being replaced by electric systems from aircraft to lawnmowers to watercraft and even heavy construction equipment.
Electrification of Heavy Construction Equipment
The automobile industry is one sector experiencing tremendous investment and innovation regarding the electrification of vehicles. Public awareness, government incentives, and adoption of electric cars are all on the rise and many manufacturers are working to bring these vehicles to the masses. But electrification is being adopted for specialized vehicles as well—both large and small—designed for purposes other than for personal transportation.
The construction industry is not only ready for change, but they are also ripe for disruption.
While the world of blending heavy mobile machinery with electrification might initially seem outrageous to some (especially considering the power required for these machines to do what they do), according to a recent McKinsey & Company report, the construction industry is not only ready for change, but they are also ripe for disruption. In their recent report, The Next Normal in Construction, the global management consulting firm points out that “many large construction companies have set ambitious carbon-reduction targets for the coming years.” Some of these goals include the immediate use of 100 percent renewable fuel and the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions by as much as 50 percent by 2030. Electrifying heavy construction equipment also means quieter construction sites, decreasing the industry’s contribution to noise pollution and improving the health, safety, and wellbeing of the workforce.
Electric vehicle technology has come a long way, and Benchmark is supporting our partners who are committed to advancing this technology through our expertise in electromechanical design, sensor systems, Design for Manufacturing, Design for Testing, and Design for Supply Chain. To achieve the necessary power using an electric engine, single- and dual-axis drives (aka the brains of the operation) must use electricity efficiently to control the vehicle’s many functions. Our experience with control box systems gives us a leg up in helping industrial customers bring electrification to these revolutionary and impressive powerhouses.
Pollutant emissions from non-road mobile machinery significantly contribute to air pollution by emitting CO₂, hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter. By some estimates, construction handles as much as 38% of global CO₂ emissions. (Environmental Journal) With growing global pressure on working toward net-zero emissions, many countries are now looking under a microscope at these types of harmful emissions and enacting laws to limit their use.
Replacing the once massive polluters that ran on diesel fuel and helping turn them into much cleaner and more efficient modes of operation is a high priority. As laws and oversight will likely only intensify in the coming years, electrification of construction equipment provides a cleaner future for the industrial industry and helps construction organizations become more compliant with current and future environmental laws.
The Many Benefits of Electric Motors
Electric motors greatly lower maintenance requirements, reduce noise pollution, and offer greater productivity while keeping the cost the same as—or lower than—traditional internal combustion motors. Sensors and connectivity will play a significant role, collecting data that allows construction companies to use artificial intelligence (AI) to further improve efficiency. In fact, heavy equipment OEMs are investing in lidar, radar, and other sensors for the new electric versions of equipment, offering customers multiple upgrades at once. These added initiatives focus on autonomy, worker safety, and simplifying tasks in a collaborative relationship with equipment.
All these technologies are now being applied to the heavy equipment industry. In fact, some of the industry’s top leaders feel strongly that the future of construction revolves around these principles and point to several benefits, including:
- Remote-controlled and Autonomous Equipment
- Digitization of Construction Equipment
- Construction Site Connectivity
With operational intelligence built directly into remote-controlled, autonomous, and semi-autonomous construction equipment, construction sites can now incorporate green technology into the equipment to meet evolving regulations. Allowing workers to operate the machinery from a remote location also means sites are strengthening workplace safety.
By digitizing equipment, construction sites can now provide real-time and AI-supported analytics, better support project plans, and provide program progress with digital technologies. And, with smart technology, sites are now able to connect tools, machinery, and workers. All of these advancements save time and expenses, streamline processes, and improve productivity with seamless data transmission.
Get Plugged In with Benchmark
Benchmark is focused on a cleaner world and our talented teams help our customers take steps toward reducing their environmental footprint. Whether it is as large as revolutionizing the world of heavy, mobile machinery or making small but impactful changes via process and efficiency improvements, Benchmark is the perfect partner to get you started. We are delighted to join our customers on this sustainable journey.
Benchmark has the expertise to help our customers build sustainability into their products and solutions. From advanced process automation to design for manufacturing capabilities, power management, robotics and mechatronics, and connectivity we can support key technological upgrades to existing products as well as development of new ones.
Benchmark has the expertise to help our customers build sustainability into their products and solutions. From advanced process automation to design for manufacturing capabilities, power management, robotics and mechatronics, and connectivity we can support key technological upgrades to existing products as well as development of new ones. We are excited about the future of ESG starting with the electrification of vehicles as a leading innovation in the world of sustainability. We are rapidly building our capabilities in this area to serve the next generation of electric heavy construction equipment, UAVs, and more.
Here at Benchmark, we take ESG and sustainability very seriously with our internal systems, resource management strategies, and our customer selection processes. This means we are always looking for customers with new innovations that push the sustainability market forward and share our values in helping to make our planet cleaner and our local communities safer. To learn more about our capabilities in electrification, we invite you to visit our website at https://www.bench.com/industrial.